Cincinnati Reds at Arizona Diamondbacks Preview

In what will be an important series for both teams, the wild card leading Cincinnati Reds have traveled to Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona to take on the NL West leading Arizona Diamondbacks for a three-game series that began on Friday night.

The Diamondbacks, who possess a 40-33 record on the season, got out to an early lead against the Reds and continued to pound starter Johnny Cueto, chasing him from the game after seven runs and 11 hits in just 4.1 innings. Arizona also scored four more runs off of reliever Curtis Partch, who lasted just one inning.

Having secured the win, the Diamondbacks at the very least assured that they wouldn’t be swept. And for Arizona, this means not having been swept at home since April. On the season, the Diamondbacks have only been swept twice.

Cincinnati will have a chance to rebound in game two as they send righty Mike Leake to the mound. On the season, Leake has been one of the Reds’ best pitchers with a 7-3 record and 2.64 ERA. However, Arizona counters with second year star and NL Cy Young frontrunner, Patrick Corbin. On the season, Corbin is 9-0 with a 2.28 ERA and the Diamondbacks are a remarkable 13-1 in his 14 starts on the season.

For the third game of the series (Sunday, 1:10 MST), which could be the most important for both teams, Cincinnati looks to have the edge in the pitching match up. They will be sending at Latos to the mound who has a 6-1 record and 3.20 ERA on the season.

Ultimately though with both teams excelling both offensively and on the pitching side of the ball, either could walk away with the series win and distance themselves that much further from their National League competition.

Pitching Match Up: RHP Mat Latos vs. RHP Randall Delgado

Mat Latos, a right handed pitcher with four years major league experience, will be taking the mound for Cincinnati. On the season, Latos has been a solid number two for the Reds, winning six of his 15 starts and helping Cincinnati to win 10 of those starts, including a perfect month of May.

Latos has been just as rock solid over his last three starts. Despite a 4.50 ERA in that span, Latos has pitched 18 innings and struck out 18 to ascend his strikeout total to 87 on the season. More importantly however, Latos has always pitched well in his career against the Diamondbacks, He possesses a 2-1 record with a 3.25 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched.

A model of consistency, Latos has been nearly identical at home and on the road. On the road Latos has a 3.20 ERA, exactly the same as his ERA at home and on the season. He has started eight games on the road and has a 2-0 record. He has 40 strikeouts in 50.2 innings pitched and is holding opposing batters to a .240 average. He has yet to pitch against Arizona this season.

Opposing Latos, is Diamondbacks’ 23-year-old righty Randall Delgado. Delgado, who was just promoted from the minors, has made just two starts this season. Yet to get his first win of 2013, Delgado has pitched one good outing and one bad. In his most recent outing, a June 18th win against the Miami Marlins, Delgado pitched seven strong innings. He gave up two runs on eight hits, walked none and struck out six.

It is hard to say which pitcher has the advantage going in because the sample size is so small for Delgado. On the one hand, Delgado is coming off a quality start displaying his best pitching this season. But Latos too is coming off of a strong start.

Because Latos has been in the league longer and because he spent a good amount of his career pitching in the NL West with the San Diego Padres, he has experience with a handful of Arizona’s best hitters. Unfortunately that has not always been good news as more than one Dback with at least 10 at-bats against Latos is hitting over .290.

Since with baseball, a lot of the betting is linked to how many runs you think a team is going to score, the best bet here is to bet the runline. Both Latos and Delgado have been good, but the offenses for Arizona and Cincinnati tell more of the story and that is where money is to won or lost.

Offensive Comparison: Arizona vs. Cincinnati

On the season, both of these offenses have sat within the middle or top of the NL in most offensive categories. Cincinnati has fared slightly better, and this is mostly a result of the MVP-caliber play of Joey Votto.

Votto leads all Reds’ players with a .334 average, helped by a recent streak that includes 12 hits in the last six games. He is ranked eighth in the majors in average and sixth in the NL. In terms of run production though, Votto does not even crack the top-25 with just 37 RBI and 13 HR.

The Reds will look to keep Votto hot and get his teammate Jay Bruce going. And if they can do this, Cincinnati should have a pretty easy time scoring against a young and inexperienced pitcher in Delgado.

Overall though, the best thing the Reds can do is get on the board early. Because if they can do this, Cincinnati easily has the better bullpen which is anchored by flamethrowing closer, Aroldis Chapman who hasn’t blown a save or given up a run since May 19 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Arizona’s offense has gotten better as of late, including scoring seven runs or more in seven of their last 19 games. Also, considering that Arizona has had recent success against Reds’ starter, Latos, the Diamondbacks could look to continue their hot streak of run scoring as well.

Final Prediction & Betting Picks

Both Arizona and Cincinnati have a lot on the line in this game and this series and it really could come down to who has the hotter hand. Both teams are equally capable on offense and in terms of starting pitching and both have shown why if the playoffs started today, they would make it and likely end up facing each other as well.

  • The best betting option here is to take the over on the total runs (over 8.5 @ -120 odds with BetOnline or Bovada) and to take the Reds to secure the win on the moneyline at -125 with BetOnline (it is -140 with Bovada). While Latos and Delgado are capable of holding their own, look for big offensive performances out of Votto and the Reds and the Diamondbacks as well, who scored 11 runs to open up this three game series.
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